viernes, 1 de agosto de 2014

La novela luminosa

La novela luminosa (Alfaguara, 2005)
por Mario Levrero
Uruguay, 2005

Después de haber sido otorgado una beca Guggenheim en el año 2000, el escritor uruguayo Mario Levrero pasó un año preparándose para finalizar el borrador de una obra suya que él había dejado sin terminar en el año 1984: una obra, al parecer de corte místico, con el título enigmático de La novela luminosa.  Para motivarse, el obsesionante Levrero decidió comenzar un llamado "Diario de la beca", un diario personal el objetivo de que era "poner en marcha la escritura, no importa con qué asunto, y mantener una continuidad hasta crearme el hábito".  Siguiendo:  "Eso implica desarticular una serie de hábitos cibernéticos en los que estoy sumergido desde hace cinco años, pero no debo pensar en desarticular nada, sino en articular esto.  Todos los días, todos los días, aunque sea una línea para decir que hoy no tengo ganas de escribir, o que no tengo tiempo, o dar cualquier excusa.  Pero todos los días.  Seguramente no lo haré" (27).  En un sentido, el "Diario de la beca", que forma el grueso del libro de Levrero publicado póstumamente en 2005 como La novela luminosa, registra el fracaso de su autor en cuanto a su deseo de completar a "la novela luminosa" de 1984 en la manera esperada.  Levrero él mismo lo admite en algún momento.  En otro sentido, el libro es un éxito de calidad inmejorable en torno al tema del escritor y de su lucha para crear  --y, por extensión, la posibilidad de aguantar o incluso de superar a los dolores de la vida por medio del Arte o de lo que Levrero con humildad encantador describe como "estos intentos de ordenarme la mente mediante la escritura" (393).  Como lo explica el crítico Ignacio Echevarría en la página 130 de su Los libros esenciales de la literatura en español: narrativa de 1950 a nuestros días (Barcelona y Madrid, Lunwerg Editores, 2011), "lo prodigioso" acerca del fracaso de Levrero "es cómo, paradójicamente, con los materiales de esta derrota alcanzan a sugerirse, como en negativo, los contornos de la 'novela luminosa', cuyo resplandor se hace perceptible por virtud de la oscuridad que la rodea" (130).  ¿De qué se trata esta 'oscuridad' de que habla Echevarría?  Levrero habla con toda franqueza de sus adicciones (a la computadora, a la pornografía) y de sus problemas de salud, de su paranoia y de sus relaciones revoltosas con las mujeres.  En cuanto a su estado mental, la muerte de muchos de sus amigos y familiares y la vista cotidiana de una paloma muerte que se está pudriendo en una azotea vecina probablemente no ayudan.  Pero el uruguayo también habla, con cariño y, en particular, con un sentido de humor que me alegró, de la amistad, del amor, de su afán para comer milanesas y para leer novelas policiales, y del oficio de escribir.  Su voz "narrativa", al ciento por ciento autobiográfica o no, es una voz auténtica que putee una novela de Ellery Queen ("Los toques románticos y las escenas sentimentales se acumulan hasta producir vómitos, envueltos en una prosa llena de pretensiones literarias, como si los primos Dannay y Lee hubieran pasado por un taller literario uruguayo") en la página 374 o que hable de "la presencia divina" en la vida ("puede ser real o imaginaria; si es imaginaria, el sacerdote actúa nada más que como recordatorio de que en el universo hay instancias superiores, pero eso ya es mucho en un mundo que te ametralla permanentemente con la bajeza, la vilez y la ordinariez) en la página 524 o que, en un momento que me hizo decirme "¡qué librazo!" en voz alta, describa este encuentro luminoso sorprendente en la página 367:

De mi paseo de ayer con F olvidé mencionar que al regreso, en la "rive gauche" de la plaza Libertad nos cruzamos con Gérard de Nerval.  Lo tuve que mirar dos veces, cosa que no acostumbro a hacer con los caballeros, y él lo advertió y me miró y en la expresión se le notó algo así como un reconocimiento, como si supiera que alguna vez yo había leído libros suyos con cierta devoción.  F no había leído nada suyo; después en casa busqué entre mis libros y encontré Las hijas del fuego.  En el libro hay una foto de Gérard de Nerval, y F quedó enormemente sorprendida de que nos hubiéramos cruzado con él  --especialmente cuando le expliqué que hace muchísimos años se había ahorcado, colgándose de un farol, o lo habían ahorcado, porque el hecho nunca se aclaró--.  "Los muertos se reciclan", le expliqué.  Se llevó el libro.

Mario Levrero (1940-2004)

domingo, 27 de julio de 2014

Spanish Lit Month 2014: 7/20-7/26 Links


As some of you might already know, my partner in crime for Spanish Lit Month 2014, Stu of Winstonsdad's Blog, recently announced that he'll be "carrying on a bit into August" with his reading and writing for the event.  Wonderful news!  I must confess that I was particularly happy to hear that because 1) I wish every month were Spanish Lit Month, and 2) I seem to have fallen way off the pace to finish Guillermo Cabrera Infante's Tres tristes tigres [Three Trapped Tigers] in time for this week's scheduled group read of the book.  With that in mind, I've decided to join Stu in postponing the closing ceremonies for Spanish Lit Month until the end of the first couple of weeks of August.  You're of course welcome to carry on with Stu and me or fall off by the wayside as you see fit, but for the purposes of these SLM 2014 weekly link round-ups, I'll continue to collect any/all Spanish language literature posts people put up through August 14th or until whenever I finish the Cabrera Infante novel for the group read--whichever comes later.  Slackers who have yet to participate in Spanish Lit Month: there's still plenty of time--we got your back!

Bellezza, Dolce Bellezza
The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato

Grant, 1streading's Blog
The Return by Roberto Bolaño
The Islands by Carlos Gamerro

JacquiWine, JacquiWine's Journal
Severina by Rodrigo Rey Rosa

Mel U, The Reading Life
"True Milk" by Aixa de la Cruz
"Clara" by Roberto Bolaño

Miguel, St. Orberose
The Fragrance of Guava: Conversations with Gabriel García Márquez by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
"La gallina degollada" by Horacio Quiroga
"El matadero" by Esteban Echeverría
Nadie nada nunca by Juan José Saer

Stu, Winstonsdad's Blog
In Search of Klingsor by Jorge Volpi
Lizard Tails by Juan Marsé
Outlaws by Javier Cercas
Leaf Storm by Gabriel García Márquez

Tony, Tony's Reading List
Dead Stars by Álvaro Bisama

Tony Messenger, Messengers Booker (and more)
Monsieur Pain by Roberto Bolaño

sábado, 26 de julio de 2014

Nadie nada nunca

Nadie nada nunca (Seix Barral, 2013)
by Juan José Saer
France, 1980

At the white house by the river in Santa Fe province where many of Argentinean expat Juan José Saer's almost uniformly great novels are set, el Gato ["Cat"] Garay and his lover Elisa languidly spend a couple of days--longer? time seems to to have become suspended in the February heat--drinking ice cube-laden wine, making love, reading, and otherwise going about their daily routines.  An occasional visitor in the form of their friend, the journalist Tomatis, and a young boy, el Ladeado, joins them; other than that, the only other person who regularly crosses their path is the lifeguard at the beach on the river who seems both introverted and unduly curious about what's going on around him.  It turns out that there's a serial killer of horses on the loose, though, and el Ladeado has brought a horse for el Gato to look after for a while because the horse's owner thinks that the animal will be safer there than in town.  One night, however, shots ring out.  Although relatively little else takes place action-wise in the aptly named Nadie nada nunca [available in an English translation by Helen Lane as Nobody Nothing Ever but marred by one of the worst covers on a paperback I've ever seen and Lane's unfortunate decision to convert the nickname "el Ladeado" into the ridiculous nonsense nickname of "Tilty"], as usual with Saer the writing is often hypnotic and riveting anyway on account of his insistent repetitiveness ("Febrero, el mes irreal" ["February, the unreal month"] is a periodic refrain), the ongoing shifts in perspective, and some bold experimental flourishes (i.e. the unannounced insertion of a jarring five-page extract or pseudo-extract from Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom at the start of chapter XI, the provocation only revealed when we're told that "en ese punto de su lectura y de sus reflexiones" ["at that point in his reading and his reflections"], el Gato raised his head from the book he was reading [176]).  But what sets this book apart from, say, the last two Saer novels I read, 1974's El limonero real and 1985's Glosa?  For one thing, Nadie nada nunca is I think justly famous among Saer fans and critics for its powerful anti-Dirty War allegory published, like fellow Argentine Ricardo Piglia's likeminded Respiración artificial which came out the same year, at the height of the Dirty War in 1980.  Approximately halfway through the novel, for example, the reader learns just how and when the horses along the coast started being killed and how the senseless savagery of the gunshots to the horses' heads in the middle of the night and the slashing of the horses' bodies after they were already dead understandably created a climate of fear, mistrust, and paranoia in the community:  "Al principio, todo el mundo esperaba, de un momento a otro, descubrir al amanacer nuevos caballos mutilados en cualquier punto de la costa" ["In the beginning, everybody expected, from one moment to the next, to discover new mutilated horses at daybreak at points along the coast"].  This climate of fear, mistrust, and paranoia isn't limited to people either for, if "el miedo desapareció, de los hombres por menos" ["the fear disappeared, among humans at least"] during the lulls between the killings, "...los caballos seguían nerviosos y un extraño apenas si les podía acercar" ["the horses continued being agitated, and a stranger could scarcely approach them"] (104).  In short, strong stuff on a par with the author's best in many ways--and a work in which the retrospective sense of menace that accompanies and colors events here is amplified, so to speak, for those who know that el Gato and Elisa will be disappeared from the same white house by the river in a later Saer novel.

Juan José Saer (1937-2005) in his hometown of Serodino, Santa Fe (photographer unknown)

viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

El matadero

"El matadero"
by Esteban Echeverría
Argentina, 1871

Vegetarian or not, it's easy enough to get grossed out by Esteban Echeverría's "El matadero" ["The Slaughterhouse," written c. 1840 and published posthumously in 1871].  Buenos Aires in the 1830s.  During the course of over a fortnight without beef accompanied by the quasi-surf and turf double whammy of a flood of almost biblical proportions served up to area residents at the same pestilential time, the state of hunger in the city is such that even the thousands of rats who normally survive off the scraps of the cattle slaughtering trade "todos murieron o de hambre o ahogados en sus cuevas por la incesante lluvia" ["all died either of hunger or were drowned in their holes by the incessant rain"] (26 in the Spanish original, 6 in John Incledon's translation).  To prevent the human inhabitants of the future metropolis from suffering the same inhuman fate, an emergency shipment of some 50 steer is sent to the slaughterhouse at the south of the city in order to tide people over.  The good news proclaimed by the start of the slaughter is greeted by the desperate behavior of scavengers who hide globs of fat in between their "tetas" ["tits"] (31, 10 in the translation) or in their pants to sneak away with free goodies, kids arguing at knife point over delicious offal freshly stolen from the butcher, and--in a culmination of the raw civilization and barbarism style "visceral realism" all too freely practiced by the narrator up to this point--a young boy is suddenly (and graphically) decapitated when a wild bull breaks free.  The "lingering" description of the decapitation scene, in reality all of only one sentence long, almost made me as queasy as if I were watching Oldboy on a first date with a shy church girl.  OK, with that farfetched analogy now fortunately behind us, I suppose that now is as good a time as any to let on that the descriptive excesses of "El matadero" provide a sort of covering fire for Echeverría's real aim in the story: to attack the regime of the caudillo Juan Manuel de Rosas and the local church authorities that backed his dictatorship.  Although I suspect that the mere mention of the 19th century hostilities between the unitarios (Unitarians) and the federales (Federalists) in Argentina may drive everybody but your humble servant into a mad stampede for the exits, I'm going to risk it here because the unnamed narrator of Echeverría's story himself draws attention to the Sarmiento-like belief that the spectacle of the violent anarchy on display at the slaughterhouse was "animado y pintoresco, aunque reunía todo lo horriblemente feo, inmundo y deforme de una pequeña clase proletaria peculiar del Río de la Plata" ["lively and picturesque, even though it brought together all the horrible ugliness, filth, and deformity of a small proletarian class peculiar to the Río de la Plata region"] (28 in the original, 8 in the translation).  Or more succinctly, a "simulacro en pequeño...éste del modo bárbaro con que se ventilan en nuestro país las cuestiones y los derechos individuales y sociales" ["miniature version of the barbaric way individual and social issues and rights are aired in our country"] (32, 11 in the translation).  While "El matadero"'s social commentary is heavyhanded it is rarely dull and, even at a remove of approximately 175 years from the time of its writing, it still strikes me as an undeniably audacious work in terms of its style--in particular its attempt to replicate the day to day colloquial speech of that "small proletarian class peculiar to the Río de la Plata region" that Echeverría looked down on--in terms of its occasionally humorous tone, and in terms of the hyper violence with which it punctuates its themes: at the conclusion of the story, for example, a young man is stripped nude by a mob, tied face down to a table, and threatened with sodomy or torture by butcher's shears.  As an added bonus for Argentinophile readers, this story serves up one final, uncomfortably ironic historical/fiction treat: testimony of an Afro-Argentine presence in 1830s Buenos Aires that's nowhere to be found in today's modern city.

Esteban Echeverría (1805-1851)

Source
Echeverría's "El Matadero" (spelled with a capital "M" here but almost nowhere else for some reason) is the lead-off story in El terror argentino: cuentos curated by Elvio E. Gandolfo and Eduardo Hojman (Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2002, 19-43).  The English translations in the body of the post above come from John Incledon's translation of "The Slaughterhouse" available in Seymour Menton's The Spanish American Short Story: A Critical Anthology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980, 3-22).  A comic book adaptation of the work with a particularly insightful introduction by Ricardo Piglia ("Echeverría y el lugar de la ficción," pp. 8-10) plus the artwork of Enrique Breccia ("Esteban Echeverría, El matadero," pp. 11-19) can be found in Piglia's La Argentina en pedazos that was mentioned in the previous post (Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Urraca, 1993).  Breccia's slaughterhouse image above is from the first frame of his mini comic book.
If the FacundoCivilización y barbarie-like description of "El matadero"'s "relato de la violencia política local, puesta en escena de la permanente lucha entre civilización y barbarie" ["account of local political violence (and) staging of the permanent conflict between civiliaztion and barbarism"] seems to make it a curious choice for a short story anthology dedicated to works of "terror," note that Gandolfo and Hojman are quick to explain that one character's "muy concreta amenaza de violación a manos de los carniceros" ["very concrete threat of rape at the hands of the butchers"], the blood which flows "incesante y terrorífica" ["incessantly and frighteningly"] throughout the story, and "la muerte casual, gráfica y atroz de un niño" ["the casual, graphic, and dreadful death of a child"] convert it into "un auténtico cuento de terror colectivo" ["an authentic short story about collective terror"] (22).  More on the links between "El matadero" and Facundo coming soon.  In the meantime, our friend Tom at Wuthering Expectations has a standout post on "El matadero" and the origins of the Argentinean Literature of Doom here & the Incledon translation of "The Slaughterhouse" can be accessed through Google Books online here.

martes, 22 de julio de 2014

La gallina degollada

"La gallina degollada"
by Horacio Quiroga
Argentina, 1917

One of the cooler things about the gory tale of terror "La gallina degollada" ["The Decapitated Chicken"]--aside from the fact that I found a link to the story in translation for those unable to read the work in its, ahem, colorful and vivid and bloodbath Spanish--is that it allows the important early 20th century short story stylist Horacio Quiroga to finally make his Spanish Lit Month debut in front of our huge international audience of confirmed genre fans.  As the bullet points on his vita all sadly attest, the Uruguayan Quiroga (1878-1937, photographed with one of his wives above), sometimes referred to as the Poe of South America and not just for his troubled biography, is practically a poster boy for the Argentinean and Uruguayan literatures of doom: as a toddler, he was present when his father accidentally killed himself with a gunshot blast to the face; while still a teen, Quiroga lost his stepfather to suicide; he had two brothers die young a few years later and--as if things couldn't get any worse--a couple of years after that, he accidentally killed his best friend in another firearm accident; fast forward a decade or so, and Quiroga's first wife checks out of their marriage by suicide; eventually, mortally ill and depressed, the writer finally takes his own life.  Somewhere in between all that death and misfortune, Quiroga found the time to write some of the most no-frills and aesthetically satisfying short stories in the South American canon.  "La gallina degollada," while not my favorite Quiroga by a long shot, still has plenty to recommend it in matters of style.  I'll limit myself to just a few quick observations here since the short story itself is just a click away. From the outset, the narrator is ruthlessly direct and even blunt in the telling of his tale: "Todo el día, sentados en el patio, en un banco estaban los cuatros hijos idiotas del matrimonio Mazzini-Ferraz.  Tenían la lengua entre los labios, los ojos estúpidos, y volvían la cabeza con toda la boca abierta" ["All day long the four idiot sons of the couple Mazzini-Ferraz sat on a bench in the patio.  Their tongues protruded from between their lips; their eyes were dull; their mouths hung open as they turned their heads"] (49 in the Spanish original, 57 in the translation by Margaret Sayers Peden).  Although the "idiot sons," variously described as "las cuatro bestias" ["the four animals"] (52, 60 in the translation), "los cuatro engendros" ["the four misbegotten sons"] (53, 62 in the translation), and even "los monstruos" ["the monsters"] (55, 64 in the translation), certainly don't get cut any slack in their non-PC portrayal as drooling, brain-damaged bumps on a log (on that note, I'd argue that "freaks" or even "abortions" would make for vastly superior translation choices for the Spanish word "engendros" than what Sayers Peden waters down as "misbegotten sons" in the middle quote above), Quiroga turns the table on his uncomfortable readers by asking who is more monstrous: the four meningitis victims "mirando el sol con alegría bestial, como si fuera comida" ["staring at the sun with bestial joy, as if it were something to eat"] (49, 57 in the translation) or the loving parents who fight over who's to blame for having passed on "la aterradora descendencia" ["the terrifying line of descent"] to their progeny (51, 60 in the translation)?  The parents, blessed at last by the birth of a beautiful daughter who makes it to the grand old age of four without showing any signs of having inherited the "idiot" gene of her brothers, then promptly ignore their four firstborn children to shower all their attention and affection on the sane one.  The ending, while telegraphed in advance early on ("Rojo...  Rojo..." ["Red....  Red...."] [55, 63 in the translation]), seems like just about the only one that Quiroga could have settled on, but why take my word for it when--SPOILER ALERT--you could just as easily check out the last two panels of the comic book version of "La gallina degollada" below?  Messed fucking up!


Source
Quiroga's "La gallina degollada," with a short overview of the author's life and works, appears on pp. 45-57 of the anthology, El terror argentino: cuentos [Argentinean Terror: Short Stories], as presented by Elvio E. Gandolfo and Eduardo Hojman (Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2002).  The English translation I used above appears on pp. 55-66 of The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories by Horacio Quiroga as translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (Austin & London: University of Texas Press, 1976).  Finally, the comic book version of Quiroga's "La gallina degollada," with drawings by Alberto Breccia, an adaptation by Carlos Trillo, and an introduction by Ricardo Piglia, can be found on pp. 64-76 of Piglia's La Argentina en pedazos [Argentina in Pieces] alongside similar adaptations of Arlt's Los siete locos, Echeverría's "El matadero," and Puig's Boquitas pintadas (Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Urraca, 1993).  More on La Argentina en pedazos, "una historia de la violencia argentina a través de la ficción" ["a history of Argentinean violence through fiction"] (8), hopefully before too long.
*
The line-up from El terror argentino: cuentos:
Esteban Echeverría, "El Matadero"
Horacio Quiroga, "La gallina degollada"
Roberto Arlt, "La luna roja"
Manuel Mujica Lainez, "El hambre"
Julio Cortázar, "Verano"
Bernardo Kordon, "Hotel Comercio"
Antonio Di Benedetto, "En rojo de culpa"
Rodolfo Walsh, "Los ojos del traidor"
Abelardo Castillo, "Mis vecinos golpean"
Germán Rozenmacher, "Cabecita negra"
Amalia Jamilis, "Después del cine"
Lázaro Covadlo, "Llovían cuerpos desnudos"
Osvaldo Lamborghini, "El niño proletario"
Carlos Chernov, "Plaisir d'amour"
Guillermo Martínez, "Infierno grande"
Ana María Shua, "Como una buena madre"
Anna Kazumi Stahl, "Evidencia circunstancial"
Gustavo Nielsen, "En la ruta"

domingo, 20 de julio de 2014

Spanish Lit Month 2014: 7/13-7/19 Links

Liliana Heker

It's a measure of how swimmingly Spanish Language Literature Month is going that I've yet to read/comment on about half of last week's posts for the event.  OK, so that's also partly due to my erratic time management skills, but you get the picture: people are reading a lot of Spanish lit with us these days.  Hope you're enjoying the mutiny on the bounty!

Bellezza, Dolce Bellezza
The Nautical Chart by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Emma, Book Around the Corner
Guilty of Dancing the ChaChaCha by Guillermo Cabrera Infante

Grant, 1streading's Blog
Talking to Ourselves by Andrés Neuman
Where There's Love, There's Hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo

Himadri, The Argumentative Old Git
Tormento by Benito Pérez Galdós

JacquiWine, JacquiWine's Journal
Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas

Miguel, St. Orberose
El amigo de la Muerte by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
"La música de los domingos" by Liliana Heker
El burlador de Sevilla by/attributed to Tirso de Molina

Scott, seraillon
Bomarzo by Manuel Mujica Láinez

Stu, Winstonsdad's Blog
The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell by Carlos Rojas

Tom, Wuthering Expectations
The House of Ulloa [1] by Emilia Pardo Bazán
The House of Ulloa [2] by Emilia Pardo Bazán

Tony, Tony's Reading List
Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente

viernes, 18 de julio de 2014

El burlador de Sevilla

El burlador de Sevilla (Cátedra, 2010)
attributed to Tirso de Molina
Spain, c. 1630

With apologies to Amanda and Tom, who read and reread all three acts of El burlador de Sevilla [The Trickster of Seville] w/me for June's Caravana de recuerdos group read while I was out picking up the beer and munchies on the "Latino time" that's now dragged into late July, I've been putting off writing about this Siglo de Oro classic because I don't really have all that much to say about the play.  Didn't love it.  Didn't hate it.  Don't quite understand its accumulation of four centuries of hype.  On second thought, that last part isn't entirely true because one of the most understandably appealing things about the play is that it boasts the memorably unappealing title character in the form of the original Don Juan.  "Unappealing," as I've just used it, is of course a value judgement about the character's womanizing ways.  What's appealing about him as a character, though, is the way he's so dedicated to his craft!  In the first scene alone, for example, he has to flee Naples after having impersonated a duke and falsely wedded the Duchess Isabela just to enjoy the duchess' favors.  Early in the second act, in the midst of leaving a trail of seduced and deceived women in his wake upon his return to Spain, he brags about how he came about his nickname: "Sevilla a voces me llama/el Burlador, y el mayor/gusto que en mí puede haber/es burlar una mujer/y dejarla sin honor" ["Seville sometimes refers to me as the Trickster, and for me there is no greater pleasure than to deceive a woman and to leave her without honor"] (verses 1395-1399).  In the third act, the incorrigible Don Juan gleefully chides yet another "false bride" of his in an aside: "¡Qué mal conoces/al burlador de Sevilla!" ["How poorly you understand the Trickster of Seville!"] (2229-2230).  In short, the character is a singularly compelling villain in that he never seems repentant for his behavior no matter what harm it causes--and this in a play in which a friend of his can casually joke about a woman who survived a bout of "el mal francés/por un río de sudores" ["syphillis sweated out in a river of fever"] (1308-1309) and in which another woman spurned by Don Juan asks for him to be killed for having been the "homicida de mi honor" ["murderer of my honor"] (1657).  The undeniable negative charisma of Don Juan and the earthy realism of that VD reference aside, another couple of reasons I might/probably will revisit the play in the future are that it's mischievously "poetic"--loved the description of "la espumosa orilla/del mar de Italia" ["the foamy shores of the Italian sea"] as the site of Don Juan's "cárcel" ["prison"], in reference to the cad's initial expulsion from Castile to Naples (117-121); ditto the description of Isabela as a "fea" ["ugly woman"], even though she must be an "ángel" ["angel"], when compared to the daughter of the Commander of Calatrava, whose beauty moves the King of Castile to astronomically rhapsodize her as "el Sol de las estrellas de Sevilla" ["the Sun of all the stars of Seville"] (1190-1199)--and goofily entertaining w/r/t the way the poor skirt-chasing Trickster eventually receives his supernatural comeuppance at the hands of a guest of stone from beyond the grave: I mean, I understand that revenge is a dish best served cold and all, but nobody ever told me that it could be jazzed up by scorpions, fingernails, and snakes!


In his introduction to the Cátedra edition of El burlador de Sevilla, Alfredo Rodríguez López-Vázquez does a pretty convincing job of casting doubt on Tirso de Molina as the author of the work.  The arguments are too complicated to go into here, but I'll try to follow up on this in a later post if anyone's interested.  Until then, thanks again to Amanda and Tom for reading this along with me.